The Golden Gate Roos and San Francisco Iron Maidens were invited to participate in their second Portland Stumptown Throwdown Tournament this past weekend in Portland, Oregon. Participating in the tournament were the GGAFL, Sacramento Suns, and Denver Bulldogs men’s and women’s teams; as well as the Portland Steelheads, and the Seattle Grizzlies men’s teams. Hopes were high for the GGAFL as the Roos and Maidens had just come off convincing wins in the LA tournament in July. The GGAFL looks to stamp its place back as a Division 1 team for Nationals in Austin in October and make a more convincing showing than they have in past years. The Maidens are one of the biggest feel-good stories of the year for US Footy after having already been featured on the USAFL website for their growth and recruiting efforts. What better way for the Maidens to show their skills than against the strongest team in the competition, the Denver Lady Bulldogs.
Due to smaller numbers for the GGAFL and Sacramento FC, the tournament decided to combine the clubs and field one men’s team and one women’s team. The men debuted as the “Golden Sac” and the women took the name “Iron Suns.” The Roos were ready for a day of three men’s games, two women’s games, a bus ride, and some Pacific Northwest Microbrews
Men ‘s Game 1: Golden Sac vs. Seattle Grizzlies
The first game pitted the Golden Sac against the Seattle Grizzlies. You’d have to go back to Nationals in Louisville to find the last time the Roos defeated the Grizzlies, as the Grizzlies have a solid squad of young and old talent. The Pacific Northwest is known for its large trees and tall timber and the Seattle forward line had plenty of it. Four of their players stood well over six feet tall and a speedy middle proved crushing for a newly formed team from Northern California. The Grizzlies seemed to want the ball more than the Golden Sac, as they streamed in with numbers, linked up along the wings, and flooded into the forward line for some easy shots at goal. Playing at Full Back, Greg Skaug seemed to spoil nearly every contested mark against their Full Forward and was stellar on the kick outs. However, the Grizzlies put on a press and the narrow field only abetted their defensive strategy. Without the large targets in the Golden Sac forward line, the Grizzlies were able to get easy clearances from the backline and stream forward. The Golden Sac found themselves down five goals at half time. With the motivating voices of Matt Bishop and Kyle (Manly) Johnson, the Golden Sac came out with more intensity and were able to slot two goals, win more possessions in the middle, and create options throughout the field in the second half. Late night arrivals, hangovers, early morning Denny’s breakfast, and criminally low Yelp reviews at the team hotel could all be blamed for the loss. However, it was the team with more skill and chemistry that came out the victors of the competition. If anything was gained it was the promising attack on the ball in the second half that could be built on for the Golden Sac’s next two games of the tournament.
Seattle Grizzlies 7.9.51 def Golden Sac 2.0.12
Ladies Game 1: Iron Suns vs. Denver Lady Bulldogs
In the first women’s game of the competition it was the 2012 defending women’s champion Denver Lady Bulldogs against the Iron Suns. Fortunately for this collaboration of NorCal teams, the one thing they have is chemistry. Many of the girls are familiar with one another from their years of playing in the GGAFL and Sac Footy leagues. With the same size field as the men and the rise of the high noon sun, the courageous Iron Suns showed no fear against a much larger team of the Denver Lady Bulldogs. The highlighted contest of the day was Maidens ruckwoman Brette Brower against Freedom ruckwoman Hallie Adrian Lee. The two girls went hard at every ruck and endlessly laid ferocious tackles and sheppards on one another. The Lady Bulldogs jumped out to a fast start slotting a couple of early goals, but the Iron Suns continued to push even though the Lady Bulldogs were not the easiest girls to tackle. Coach Saleh Tybijeahghjeuahfdkljsdf8sh continued to encourage the Iron Suns to push hard at every contest and utilize their speed over the Lady Bulldogs size. The second half for the Iron Suns began with pushing the ball into the forward line where Amy Bishop slotted a goal and Iron Maiden Jess Estrada mopped up the crumbs and banged another one home. Jessica Lund and Diana Paasch both had strong outings as their pressure helped create several chances for the Iron Suns. The Lady Bulldogs held their opponents scoreless at last year’s Nationals in Mason, Ohio, all except for the Iron Maidens. The Iron Suns decided to return the favor as their defense held firm and only allowed a few minor scores. The siren sounded, but not soon enough to deny the Iron Suns as being quality contenders against the reigning champs.
Denver Lady Bulldogs 4.2.26 def Iron Suns 3.4.22
Mens Game 2: Golden Sac vs. Portland Steelheads
Without much time to sit and brood over the crushing defeat from Seattle, the game plan and attitude of the Golden Sac had changed for the match against the Portland Steelheads. The move of Saleh Tybijeahghjeuahfdkljsdf8sh and Bobby Sears up into the forward line was done to provide some larger options. The familiar ring of Kiwi, Noamy, and Skaugy were slated to hold down the back line. Off the opening bounce, the Golden Sac jumped on every loose ball, provided excellent sheppards, and the talk was on par with Martin Luther King Jr. “I Have a Dream” speech. During the intermission between games, Kyle Manly Johnson had warmed up his upper body with a new Roos jacket and took some strong marks in the middle. Some say it’s due to the thumb holes the jacket has, others from all the practice he has put into footy over the past five years. The truth is, we’ll never know. Cooper Lees was thrown into the middle and laid some bone crunching sheppards on the Portland mids and ego bruising insults at the Steelhead ruckman. Dennis Lowe who brought his own plastic chairs and towels to the field presented some tremendous leads in the forward line and finished off with smooth kicks towards goal. After slotting his first Metro League goal last week in an OaklandPirate’s jersey, the San Francisco Seals’ very own Kes Asworth won a hard fought contested possession and won a free kick. A 50m penalty was paid by the ref and Kez slotted his 2nd goal in as many weeks and his first as a Roo. With a 22-8 lead at halftime, the Golden Sac wanted to shower their joy on each other, but there was still a half of footy to be played. All it would take from a committed Portland club was a few straight kicks and they were right back in it.
Unfortunately, the sweeping play on the backline of Matt Bishop, snapping goal of Matt “Vegas” Prescott, fantastic spoils of Dahli, and clean mopping of the footy (unlike the new mop on his head) from Noamy, proved to be too tough of a Golden Sac nut for the Steelheads to crack. The Golden Sac goal kicking exploded like grenades and they were able to finish off an outmatched Portland team. The Golden Sac swung like a pendulum from the first game and put themselves in good position after a convincing win against the Stumptown Throwdown hosts.
Golden Sac 6.6.42 def Portland Steelheads 3.4.22
Womens Game 2: Iron Suns vs. Denver Lady Bulldogs
The women’s rematch game from earlier would prove to be a statement game for the Iron Suns. From the opening bounce, the Iron Suns were at every footy first. Their tackling of on the Denver Lady Bulldogs was strong and they earned multiple holding the ball and incorrect disposal calls. Milli Bruce was a gem in the middle for the Iron Suns and Courtney (Womanly) Sherman took some strong marks. The Iron Suns jumped out to an early three goal lead and never looked back. While in the first game, the Lady Bulldogs slotted some early goals and the Iron Suns bent (but did not break); in the second game, after the Iron Suns kicked the first few goals of the competition, the Lady Bulldogs seemed to have simply given up. Tara Salmon could be seen and heard pacing the sidelines with her enthusiasm and camera encouraging her teammates through every possession. Helen Mondia of the Sacramento Lady suns was on Full Back duties and got plenty of clearances whenever the ball came in the Lady Bulldogs forward 50. The great battle between Jillian Sine and teammate (but filling in for the Lady Bulldogs) Sarah Dowler was a great contest to watch. Both girls went hard for the footy, got lots of touches, and placed immense pressure on each other. Taylor (Ace) Davidson’s fierce attack on the footy showed her poise and range as a footy player and Jess Estrada continued her onslaught and kicked two more goals, bringing her total to three for the day and was the leading women’s goal kicker of the tournament. Jess Estrada would later on win the Women’s Best on Ground award for the tournament. The Iron Suns kicked goals until the siren blared and proved to the USAFL that they are legitimate contenders to be Women’s Division Champions at Nationals this year.
Iron Suns 7.6.48 def Denver Lady Bulldogs 1.5.11
Iron Sun record 1-1, winning the tournament on percentage
Men’s Game 3: Golden Sac vs. Denver Bulldogs
After a loooong three-hour break between their last games, the Golden Sac had the last match of the day versus a testy Denver Bulldogs outfit. The Seattle Grizzlies had already locked up first place for the tournament after their third convincing win of the day, the last being over the host Portland. The Golden Sac and Denver Bulldogs were both hanging on to a 1-1 record. The outcome of the game could dictate the rest of the weekend for both teams. Traveling far distances and coming home with losing records to Division 1 teams and only beating a Division 3 team was an unfavorable outcome. The Bulldogs came out on fire and took control of the match with some advantageous bounces in their forward 50 and off good boundary throw taps near the goal square. The bulldogs kicked the games first two goals and a handful of minor scores. Every ball was a battled contested possession and the Golden Sac defense held strong. With some strong marks coming from the backline, the Golden Sac were able to chip the ball up field and get some options in the middle. After a flurry of shots on goal, the Golden Sac exerted a bit of pressure on the Denver defense. Justin Yeezy took a mark deep in the forward pocket off a poor kick-in, played on, and banged home the Golden Sac’s first goal. Heading into halftime with a score of Denver 3.2.20 to Golden Sac 1.2.8, the Golden Sac knew they were right in the match.
The adrenaline was pumping in the Golden Sac huddle and it burst out from the opening bounce of the second half. Collem Tully seemed to be everywhere on the field with fantastic crumbing and a fearless ‘first to the ball’ approach. The Golden Sac began to take strong marks in the forward line and take advantage of a variety of set shots close to goal, but only converted a handful of minor scores. Denver’s defense was under immense pressure as the Golden Sac backline pushed up field to take some chances on the Denver kick ins. After a high tackle on Golden Sac forward, Stevie, he slotted the goal and the Golden Sac were within one goal. Another strong effort by Bobby Sears to get the ball out of the middle paid dividends as he too received a free kick from 25 meters out straight on goal. Bobby Sears slotted the goal, and is strong… country strong. The scores were level with just under two minutes to play. Denver couldn’t seem to muster any sort of counter attack as Kiwi came up with several huge tackles and smothers to keep the ball out of the Denver forward 50. A chip to the wing from Kiwi set up a massive opportunity for Alex Ambrosi on a 45 degree angle from 40 meters out to put the Golden Sac up for the first time in the game. The kick fell inches short of the goal line and seemed to ping pong on the ground forever. As the clock ticked down, a ball up was called on the Denver goal square. Using an imaginary ladder, lifted on a pedestal by the footy angles, soaring up to the heavens in the mildly cloudy and blue Portland sky, by the hand of god and strong arm of the ever present ruckman Bobby Sears smashed the ball over the Denver goal line with under a minute left putting the Golden Sac up by a point. With a final push, Denver could not even get the ball into their forward 50 as the Golden Sac hung on for a thrilling defeat of the Denver Bulldogs. The Golden Sac team sealed a victory and emitted their happiness on the field after the game. A fantastic effort by both the men’s Golden Sac team and the women’s Iron Sun teams over the weekend showed the Roos and Maidens are to be taken seriously this year in Austin. Not just how serious they party off the field (which would slate them as being unserious!)but rather, that they are serious contenders for Div 1 and Women’s division champions.
Golden Sac 3.7.25 def Denver Bulldogs 3.6.24
Golden Sac record 2-1, 2nd place.
GGAFL Best on Grounds
Honorable Mention for biggest sheppard from the smallest guy – Kez Asworth
Most Roo’d – Noamy
Shepparding and On Ball efforts – Cooper
Fists of Fury – Bobby Sears
Golden Gate Roos: 4-1
San Francisco Iron Maidens: 2-1-1 (both losses combined by less than a goal)
Full Tournament Results
Seattle 7.9.51 def Golden Sac 2.0.12
Denver 4.2.26 def Iron Suns 3.4.22
Golden Sac 6.6.42 def Portland 3.4.22
Seattle 7.7.49 def Denver 3.2.20
Iron Suns 7.6.48 def Denver 1.5.11
Seattle 5.4.34 def Portland 2.10.22
Golden Sac 3.7.25 def Denver 3.6.24
Contributors: Noam Scott